* Sealandic Flanders in The Netherlands
Sealandic Flanders (Zeeuws-Vlaanderen)
This place where I live, Sealandic Flanders in The Netherlands, is the perfect place to visit when you are planning a vacation to Holland and if you like seafood, biking, the beach and nature: we have it all. The village Breskens has still a fishing fleet, fish auction and fish market and a fishing museum. The Roman city of Aardenburg, has an archeologic museum and the famous St. Bavo church (architectural style: Westerschelde Gothic) with its painted graves. The old village Sluis, where shops are open 7 days a week, daily visited by hundreds of Belgian people. We have Philippine, famous for its seafood restaurants. We have beautiful beaches at the North Sea, lots of camp sites along the North Sea coast, hotels, bed & breakfast accommodations. Biking through our nature brings you peace of mind. To put it briefly: Zeeuws-Vlaanderen is a must see if you're planning to go on vacation to the Netherlands.
Copyright: if not mentioned otherwise: all text and photos: Titia Geertman
My Old Farmhouse
Zeeuws-Vlaanderen - Farmland bordered by Trees - Land regained from the seaClick thumbnail to view full-size
Poll about the Netherlands
Have you ever been in The Netherlands?
Amazon Prime - Instant Video: Backroads of Europe
Zeeuws-Vlaanderen - Geographically
From the Sea we've emerged
Zeeland is the only Province in The Netherlands, that consists of several peninsulas.
People here have always been closely bonded to the sea.
Zeeuws-Vlaanderen is the only part of the Province Zeeland, that's not surrounded on three sides by water.
It's bordered to Belgium in the South and the beautiful historic cities Bruges, Knokke and Ghent are not far away.
Zeeuws-Vlaanderen hasn't always been one piece of land.
In early centuries it consisted of several small ilands and during all the past centuries, land was regained from the sea.
Each new piece got surrounded by small, high dikes on which trees were planted to keep the soil from slipping away.
The Amazon.com video is made by the NCRV Dutch television back in the year 2007.
Photo courtesy: VVV Zeeland
First only ferry boats, now we have a tunnel
Our only connection to the rest of Holland
Geographically it's a bit odd that this is a part of The Netherlands and not a part of Belgium, but we're happy the way it is, though we've been sitting quite isolated from the rest of Holland for a long time. Maybe that's why the people in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen are more focused on Belgium for a lot of things and have a bit more exuberant life style than the people at the other side of the sea arm Westerschelde. This sea arm has always been kind of a barrier, because we could only cross it by ferry boats. There used to be two boats, one Breskens-Vlissingen and one Perkpolder-Kruiningen.
The Westerschelde tunnel
Both ferries ceased to exist when the famous Westerschelde tunnel was opened in 2003. Only in Breskens they kept a fast ferry for pedestrians and byciclists. So today, when we want to travel North to the rest of Holland, we can cross the Westerschelde through this famous tunnel which has a length of 6.6 kilometer (=4.10 miles). Or when we want to travel to the rest of The Netherlands through Belgium, we have to cross the river 'Schelde' by Antwerp.
Either way we have to pay a tunnel fee to get to the rest of our own country. The people, living in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen are not at all happy with that, though we get a reduction for the Westerschelde tunnel, it's still 4.00 euros ($5,50) each time we want to cross over. Imagine all the people who live in Zeelandic Flanders, but are working or going to school across the Westerschelde. That adds up to $10,00 a day.
In our local hymne, we call it an 'exclusive piece of land' and that's exactly what it is: exclusive but beautiful in many aspects.
Westerschelde Tunnel 6,6 km (4.10 miles)
In Zeeuws-Vlaanderen you can go....
* fishing (boat or beach)
* swimming in the sea
* chilling at the beach
* dining in one of many restaurants
Willow trees, dykes and the North Sea
Nature at its best
I will write mainly about the West part of Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, the land where I (regretfully) was not born in, but have lived in almost my entire life, with a small break to study elsewhere and a two year stay in the USA (40 years ago) and it's the place where I hope to die some day.
West Zeeuws-Vlaanderen has mostly an agricultural landscape, there are no big industries, no really high buildings. It has only small villages, the sea and a lot of nature. If you love nature, history, draft horses, the beach, camping, fishing, a bit of nostalgia, then you should plan a getaway and travel to West Zeeuws-Vlaanderen. Typical for this landscape are the small country roads, bordered with pollard willows, some are over a 100 years old. Most of them are very well preserved.
I see the sun rise in the morning
You can also go....
* sightseeing in Belgium
* eat mussels and oysters
* visit local museums
The City of Aardenburg
A Roman Settlement and a museum to show it
Aardenburg is from origine a Roman settlement and a lot of what was found in the ground has been restored and is displayed in the cutest little museum showing the roman excavations. Aardenburg is famous too for its Pre-Gothic Church (Westerschelde Gothic) displaying its ancient painted and restored stone graves. My fellow countrymen are not so generous in offering English translated websites, so here's a website of Aardenburg in Dutch again, but you can click and look at the pictures. The pictures of Aardenburg in the photo gallery come from the creative common wikipedia.
I've lived in this village during my childhood in a marvellous 17th century old house.
My Childhood Home
Photos of the City of Aardenburg - Living with ancient HistoryClick thumbnail to view full-size
Fishing Museum Breskens
with treasures, caught in fishing nets
Breskens is a small town, situated at the North Sea and the sea arm Westerschelde. It has always been a fishermen's village and they still have a fishing boat fleet these days. It's got a total overhauling in the last couple of years (not very much to my liking), but tourists love it. Most famous is the Fishing Museum. They don't have their website translated in English, but by pushing the colored tabs on top, you can see the pictures of what they're offering. Models of fishing boats, they have a reconstruction of the tides which works on a time clock, they have fossiles found in the nets of the fishing boats and even a partly skeleton of a Mammouth.
Very interesting too is the private collection of the late Thijs Verschoor of all the animals he found (dead) along the coast of Zeeland. He had them preserved and they're now presented in this museum.
The museum can not be entered by people in wheelchairs, because it's build on top of the Fish mine on the docks. You have to climb an outside stair. Here is a link to the website of the Fish mine on the docks, again in Dutch, but you can click the different tabs to see the pictures.
Photo courtesy: Fishing Museum Breskens
Fishing nets - the fishermen's gear
Breskens - the fishermen's village
Breskens still has a small fishing fleet and in the harbour a fishing auction and fishing market. Each year in August they have their yearly festivities, where people can see the fishing boats all rigged up neatly. They have a big flee market and there's lots of sea food to eat, like mussels, oysters, crab and more.
Beaches in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen - Enjoyable, but watch the tides
We border the North Sea
At the West coast of Zeeuws-Vlaanderen we have beautiful dunes and the beach to the North Sea. In Summer frequently visited by German and Belgian tourists. Villages along the sea shore are Cadzand-Bad (only FR/GE translations), Groede , Nieuwvliet (no website available)
The beaches are beautiful, but because the North Sea bends into the sea arm Westerschelde, the ingoing and outgoing tides are very strong here, that's why they've build so many wave-breakers. Just be careful and don't go too far into the sea, when the outgoing tide is there. On some beaches, Cadzand-Bad mostly you can find shark teeth in the sand. They make very nice necklaces when set in silver.
Photographs of the BeachesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Camp sites in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen
Our coast is tourist proof
Along the coastal road in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, we have a lot of camp sites, big ones or small ones, often situated at the farmer's farm. There are also a few big holiday rental house sites, all situated close to the sea.
Photo courtesy: Google Earth
Hotels and Restaurants in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen - Comfortable sleeping and delicious food
There are many big and small hotel/restaurants in the villages or at the coast of West Zeeuws-Vlaanderen and also cosy pubs. Our specialtiy is all kinds of seafood. If you don't like to eat fish, there are lots of foreign food restaurants too.
Seafood Restaurants - Where the Good Life starts
The best restaurant is at home
As we're surrounded by sea, you'll find seafood in almost every restaurant, except in those who specialize in foreign food. Mussels used to be a season related food and they were only eaten when there was a 'R' in the month's name, so from September until April mussels are available. Mussels can't stand the hot summer temperature and they will die soon and then are not edible anymore. Today, with the advanced cooling techniques, the mussel season is somewhat stretched, but not much. Most of the time they aren't available in the months of May, June and July.
In the photo our two daughters, Iske May and Lynn Karijn, enjoying their mussels.
Interesting Cities in Belgium - Bruges and Ghent, only 30 or 40 minutes away
Three of the most interesting cities in Belgium: Bruges and Ghent for their ancient historical buildings and Knokke-Heist for its fashionable life at the sea shore. Photo courtesy: Wikipedia/Brugge
Bruges and Ghent have the most beautiful museums and city canals, of which more information can be found on their websites.
You can also look them up on Wikepedia.
A beautiful city in North-West Belgium, right at the North sea with lots of stores, a boulevard, a casino and many, many holiday houses/apartments to rent.
Famous city, only about 45 minutes by car. You'll find here the most beautiful historical buildings, the lace making industry, a delight to roam through.
I've added here a link from the UK because there was no English version of the official Ghent site.
If you should go on a Holiday...
What do you prefer?
Or you can go.....
* enjoying the country sight
* having a romantic evening
* visiting me
Landscape photos around our House - I call it the sub tropics of HollandClick thumbnail to view full-size
Are you already planning a vacation?
Then let it be in summertime
As West-Zeeuws-Vlaanderen is partly depending for its income on the tourists, a lot of the attractions and museums are closed in off season, but our nature will always be there. There is a lot more to see than I've showed you, but I think you'll get a good impression of what Zeeuws-Vlaanderen is about. When you do plan a holiday in my land, just let me know and I'll put the kettle on the wood stove or we can sip a glass of wine while looking at the beautiful sunset.
Footsteps of Seasons
When ice is melting from the warmth of sun,
green leaves will sprout from branches bold
and sounds of new life will tickle your ears,
delightful sight, when butterflies unfold.
The time of growing into adulthood,
where beauty is spread in different ways,
when young hearts leap at promising smiles
and the fragrance of roses lingers for days.
The soil is wet, life's coming to its end,
slowly leaves fall, in orange brown glows.
The painter of sky is busy these days,
wind's playing the drums whenever he blows.
While silenced by the winter's blanket white,
we'll rest our souls in peaceful, candle light.